(NORTH CHICAGO) It’s been two years and nearly three months since Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna died a week after his arrest by police, and his family has no intention of letting anyone forget it.
Hanna’s extended family and their supporters will hold a rally and press conference before the next meeting of the North Chicago City Council on Monday. It will be the fourth such rally since Hanna’s death on Nov. 13, 2011, and the third attended by representatives of the Chicago-based civil rights group Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
The Hanna family’s insistence that the seven officers involved in the arrest be criminally charged took on renewed energy last month after new Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd announced that the 45-year-old Hanna’s death was a homicide. The manner of death was previously ruled “undetermined” by former Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey despite a forensic autopsy that found Hanna died as a result of sickle cell crisis brought on by chronic health problems and police use of force in allegedly subduing him.
Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder the Rev. Jesse Jackson is scheduled to attend the rally, marking his third visit to the city in protest of alleged police brutality. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. at First Corinthian Baptist Church, 1529 Elizabeth Ave., North Chicago, and will move at 6 p.m. to North Chicago City Hall, at the corner of Argonne Drive and Lewis Avenue.
“The family wants to call the mayor to the carpet,” said attorney Kevin O’Connor, who filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit in 2011 on behalf of Hanna’s mother and son.
O’Connor cited public comments made by the mayor, accompanied by the verbal agreement of his aldermen, that he would fire the arresting officers if investigations revealed solid proof of wrongdoing. But while the city fired one officer for punching Hanna in the face and lying that Hanna was attempting to bite and head butt him while he had him in a headlock, and disciplined another for falsifying a report, no other action has been taken against the remaining five officers.
Rockingham could not be reached for comment Friday. But the city released a statement Jan. 22 that said Rudd’s dispute of the findings of “medical experts, doctors who treated Mr. Hanna and multiple law enforcement agencies” did not change its position in the matter: That previous investigations, including its own, “found no basis for criminal charges against any of the officers involved.”
Ralph Peterson of Waukegan, Hanna’s cousin, has brought forward evidence in both the Hanna death and numerous other cases of alleged excessive force by certain North Chicago police officers, some that have resulted in out-of-court settlements or lawsuits.
“History has shown that the police kill, pay out big money, then it’s forgotten about and they go kill again,” Peterson said.
“Money is not a priority for us. Justice is our priority. We’re seeking charges.”
Peterson and another Hanna cousin, state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, have argued in numerous confrontations with the City Council, that Hanna, who was unarmed during his arrest on an alleged charge of domestic violence, was no threat.
According to at least one police report, he was quickly taken to the ground.
“But they still used maximum force,” Peterson said.
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